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Why the V6 Toyota RAV4 is never coming back

Toyota won't be bringing back the RAV4 with is excellent V6 and fans are not happy. Here's why.


When the current-generation Toyota RAV4 debuted in 2013, it addressed pretty much every wish the crossover’s fans had. Unfortunately, it also ended the run of the excellent 3.5-liter V6 engine in the vehicle, leaving only the relatively low-powered four-cylinder as the only engine. Now that the 2016 RAV4 has been announced, we can read the tea leaves. The V6 is over forever in the RAV4. However, that does not mean the 2.5-liter four-banger will remain the only engine option going forward.

Why Toyota Killed the V6 RAV4
When the last generation RAV4 was fitted with the 3.5-liter engine and AWD, it was the company’s quickest vehicle to 60 MPH. That was pretty much an accident. Still, for those lucky owners that opted for the V6, it was a pleasant one. Not as pleasant, but also not the end of the world, was the RAV4’s V6 fuel economy. At 22 MPG combined the RAV4 was not good and not bad on fuel economy. It was middle of the road. However, time marches on.

Fuel economy is often one of the top criteria shoppers now consider when selecting a vehicle. Toyota’s competitors such as the Honda CRV do dramatically better than the old RAV4 V6 did. The new CRV AWD earns a 28 MPG estimate from the EPA now. The new Toyota RAV4 four-cylinder AWD is chasing that with a rating of 25 MPG.

Low sales volume was another reason Toyota ended the V6 RAV4. The percentage of takers was low and getting lower.

- So What New Crossovers Are a Good Replacement For The RAV4 V6?

New RAV4 Engines
Toyota’s new 2016 RAV4 will carry on with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder, and Toyota’s sales are through the roof. Standardizing on a 4-cylinder engine bay keeps things simple. For those that want a smidge more power and also better fuel economy, the new 2016 RAV4 Hybrid might do. For those that want a Toyota-family of brands vehicle with more power the Lexus NX200t and its 2.0-liter turbo is also an option. One could argue that the RAV4 with a V6 might be better in some ways than either of these new choices, but the NX200t is also selling strongly. In fact, since it entered production it has outsold the BMW X3 every month.

Like many RAV4 owners I also own a 6-cylinder, compact Toyota crossover from that generation, mine being a Highlander. It is easy to understand why the owners of the older RAV4 V6 miss it, but based on what Toyota and Lexus are saying and doing, there is no evidence it is ever coming back. (More on Page 2)

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Toyota announces all-new RAV4 Hybrid – first photo


brucekdixon (not verified)    May 24, 2020 - 5:45PM

That the RAV4 6-cylinder gets significantly lower mileage than the 4-cylinder is a myth...and a sad one at that. I have a 2007 equipped with the 6 and I get 31 mpg highway...comparable to the 4-banger. I like the style of the new RAV4, but I would not buy it with its current engine choices. Caveat: I would first want to test drive the 2020 model to check for road noise; my 2007 sounds like there's a hole in the floor.

Rob (not verified)    May 25, 2020 - 10:21AM

When does a V6 Rav4 get 31 mpg hwy? Never.....even going down hill with the wind pushing you you're not getting near 31 mpg. That's laughable as well as that is not happening.

James (not verified)    August 21, 2020 - 4:43PM

I have a RAV4- v6 2008 model, its 5 years in my garage now. with air on, i hardly get 16 MPG on city roads, highway 20 MPG. Why am i not enjoying what many users are enjoying? i love my RAV4 - not ready to trade it for anything. worthy to mention- speed and velocity of this car is breathtaking!

MsFab (not verified)    November 20, 2020 - 5:39PM

I guess I am late to the party but...I have a 07 RAV4 and love it. I don't seem to be able to find a V6. Everything I see is a 4Cylinder... 2021, :-(

John Goreham    November 21, 2020 - 9:05AM

In reply to by MsFab (not verified)

You have three great options to consider. The first is the new RAV4 Prime. If has over 300 hp and it earns a 94 MPGe rating. It will feel more "powerful" than your V6 due to the instant torque the electric motors produce. The second is a Mazda CX-5 with its optional 2.5-liter turbocharged engine. Again, it pulls stronger than the V6. Both are at the top of the market, but the RAV4 Prime comes with a federal tax incentive of $7500 and usually state rebates.The last option is the RAV4 Hybrid, which has more power than any standard-engine crossover in its class. It gets 40 MPG in all conditions. Every model I suggested also has a standard compact spare tire and includes Android Auto and Apple Carplay, so Navigation is not required. Let us know what you decide on!

Charlemagne Laurent (not verified)    July 23, 2021 - 7:57PM

I purchased a Rav 4 for my wife. She had an accident/total loss. Then, was replaced by the V6. This is the best car ever by Toyota. Strong, powerful, best of its class.This is a mistake to discontinue a line like that. I am a 6 cylinder lover. If ever Toyota decide to come back with the 6 cylinders, I will be the first one to join in.

Bill stewart (not verified)    September 17, 2022 - 7:53PM

Well folks I bought a 2011 sport from Toyota in Pittsburg, presently it has 23000 miles and some change, all black, it's a garage queen, I use it to go fly fishing. The poor baby sits out there crying demanding to hit the road and cusses my 88 Silverado all decked out, she is an extended cab with canopy, 4 WD, 350, 700 R4, just beauty. I can hear a mirmur of pleading when I crank up my 86 Harley and slowly leave in a rumble.
Later Boys

Bruce (not verified)    June 1, 2023 - 9:15PM

Look for a RAV4 with a V6 and less than 125,000 miles and never wrecked that is for sale. I promise you will be more satisfied with it than a new RAV4. So it will use more gas? Who cares? You will also be saving about 15 grand plus tax by not buying a new one.